If you were required to give a blood sample during your DUI arrest, there is usually a reserve amount of blood untested. This gives you and your DUI lawyer the chance to have the sample tested independently by a lab of your choosing. This is known as a blood test “split.”
Splitting and retesting the DUI blood sample can help you substantially. For example, if the results from the new lab show a lower BAC (blood alcohol content) than the original test, or if they do not show the drug(s) that the initial test showed, you can get your blood test results thrown out.
What Exactly Is a Split Blood Test?
A split blood test is when you take the reserve sample of your blood stored by the state to get a second opinion. One of the main reasons why your DUI attorney may recommend you split your DUI blood test is to ensure the accuracy of the forensic lab that tested your blood.
Believe it or not, even a lab can test things incorrectly. In this case, you don’t want to get convicted of any DUI charges due to faulty lab procedures that tainted your blood sample or ruined the proper testing procedure. So, it’s always best to get another lab to ensure the validity of the test results.
Why Do the Police Mandate Blood Tests?
Under California Vehicle Code (CVC) § 23152(b), you need to have .08% BAC or higher to get charged with a DUI. To prove that you had this, the police will use a breath test or other types of chemical tests to measure your BAC. The most common testing method is through a breathalyzer. However, if one isn’t available, law enforcement typically opts for a blood test.
A DUI blood test is mandatory if you want to avoid any suspension of your driver’s license and any additional penalties. In addition, the police can mandate you to take a blood or breath test if they lawfully arrest you for suspicion of a DUI.
Even though you can still refuse, as it’s illegal to take your blood against your will without a warrant, refusing can make it extremely difficult to prove your innocence.
How Can Two Labs Show Two Different Blood Test Results?
Lab technicians are human and can make costly mistakes that affect the results of your DUI blood test. The most common problems are:
- Fermentation in the blood
- Contamination of the sample after it’s collected
- Accidentally switching or mixing your blood sample with someone else’s
In some cases, these mistakes could cause drugs to show up that you never took or show very high BAC levels even though you were not drunk.
These mistakes are surprisingly common, and they can lead to dramatic errors. For example, in 2012, a Colorado state lab had to re-test 1,700 blood samples after discovering that an employee had not followed proper testing procedures. Many of the samples turned out to have very different BAC levels than the original tests claimed.
How Do I Request a Blood Test Split in My DUI Case?
Every DUI defendant has the right to do this. Your DUI lawyer will file a motion with the judge requesting the split. The judge will grant the motion unless there are extraordinary circumstances, and your lawyer can choose a trusted independent lab not run by the state.
If the state cannot find your blood sample, doesn’t have enough blood to turn over, or produces a contaminated sample, that will automatically work in your favor. However, if they provide a sample, you can proceed to have it tested and see if the results help your case.
What If the Results from the New Test Are Worse Than the Original? Can I Hurt My Own Case?
No. Sometimes, the test results will back up the original test. And sometimes, they might even show a higher BAC than what the prosecutor reported. But you do not have to present this evidence against yourself. This evidence belongs exclusively to the defense and, unless you choose to bring it up, it’s completely private. Your new test results can’t get used against you.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me Get a Split Blood Test?
If you have no prior legal experience, it’s best to get a lawyer to help you. Not only will your lawyer assist you in getting a split blood test, but they can also:
- Help you assess the merits of your case
- Request for police reports and medical records
- Scrutinize all evidence brought towards you
- Consult with experts and witnesses to support your defense
A lawyer can help you in many ways and can often be the difference between facing penalties or proving your innocence.
Talk to One of Our DUI Attorneys Today
With reputable legal representation, you can request a DUI blood sample split and retest with confidence. To schedule an appointment for a free consultation with one of our experienced Los Angeles DUI attorneys, please give us a call or fill out an online form today. There is no risk or obligation when you reach out to us. We are available 24/7.